What can plants tell us about orangutan habitat?
The photo below shows a Begonia olivacea ardi found in the Bekancan resort area of the Leuser Ecosystem. Described by science in 2015, this plant is a great indicator of forest health, as it grows on the forest floor and needs a lot of moisture and shade. This species of begonia is endemic to Leuser’s forests, meaning it can’t be found in the wild anywhere else. But what does this have to do with orangutan conservation?
As you know, we support Orangutan Information Centre (OIC)’s work to restore forests in Sumatra – planting indigenous and endemic tree species to recreate the most suitable environment for orangutans and other species. An important part of this work, aside from the tree-planting itself, is the research that goes into finding out how healthy the surrounding forests are, and what is growing there. This data adds to our body of knowledge about the bigger picture for Sumatra’s forests and the way the ecosystems that orangutans rely on function.